Sunday, November 8, 2009

In defense of David Caruso.

David Caruso's performance on CSI: Miami has been much maligned, and when viewed out of context, as in the video above, that seems only fair. The performance is affected to the point of absurdity. He leans far too heavily on his sunglasses and vocal tics. He seems to think he's cool, when he is more or less the opposite of cool. But in the context of the show itself, Caruso's performance is indispensable.

This is because, outside of Caruso, CSI: Miami is perhaps the most boring television show in the history of the world. Which is not to say it's particularly awful, as it's actually too boring to be particularly awful. Criminal Minds, for example, is in many ways a worse show. But it's awful in an exploitive, slasher film-inspired sort of way. And so its boring parts are spliced with sickening and misogynistic violence. While CSI: Miami occasionally attempts exploitive storylines, it largely even fails at that. The plots are thoroughly unremarkable. Its violence is likewise rote. Further, the acting in the show, again outside of Caruso, is uniformly wooden and dull, as is the dialog. There is quite literally nothing to distinguish CSI: Miami from any other CBS procedural.

Except, of course, for Caruso. The reality of the situation is that a genuinely good performance on Caruso's part could not save this show. It would just be there amidst all the dullness. Best case scenario is the critics would look at Caruso's good performance and lament that he is on such a terrible show. The more likely scenario, however, would be that his performance would go unnoticed, dragged down into the void of somnambulism the show would create.

But by going completely over the top, hamming it up, and turning the douchiness up to eleven, Caruso almost kind of sort of does save the show. Not in the sense that he turns it into something actually good, but certainly in the sense that he turns it into something that can occasionally be so bad it's entertaining. Granted, this is only the case when Caruso's on the screen, but this really only goes to proving the point. Caruso's not exactly transfixing as Horatio Caine, but he is ... something. Which is more than anyone can say about the rest of the show.

Whether Caruso has done this intentionally or obliviously is another matter. But I'm just going to go ahead and give the man and his sunglasses the benefit of the doubt.

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